and orator, Sojourner Truth, is born a New York slave on the
plantation of Johannes Hardenbergh. Her given name is Isabelle VanWagener (some
references use the name Isabelle
Baumfree). She will walk away
from her last owner one year prior to being freed by a New York law in 1827, which proclaimed that
all slaves twenty-eight years of age and over were to be freed. Several years later,
in response to what she describes as a command from God, she becomes an
itinerant preacher and takes the name Sojourner Truth. Among her most memorable
appearances will be at an 1851 women’s rights conference in Akron, Ohio.
In her famous “Ain’t I a woman?” speech she forcefully attacks the hypocrisies
of organized religion, white privilege and everything in between.
date, Howard Thurman was born. He was an African-American author, theologian, civil and human rights activist and educator.
Thurman was from Daytona Beach Florida;
he studied at Morehouse College with Martin L. King, Sr., Rochester Theological
Center, and Haverford College.
He became widely regarded as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the 20th
century and was named by Life magazine as one of the twelve great preachers as
such. He served as a pastor at a Baptist church in Ohio
and as the Dean of the chapel at Howard
University from 1932 to
1944. Until 1953, he served at Church
of Fellowship of All Peoples, an
interracial and interdenominational church he founded in San Francisco.
From there, in 1953, he served at Boston
University until his
retirement. There, he was the first African American to hold a full-time
faculty position at Boston
University. Thurman was
one of the leading theologians of his time, writing the book, The Negro
Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death. He authored twenty one others including his
autobiography in 1979. Howard Thurman died on April 10, 1981.
This date in
celebrates the Birmingham Black
Barons baseball organization. They were one of many Negro League Baseball teams
of the twentieth century.
More than 30 communities located primarily in the Midwest,
northeast, and south were home to these franchises organized into 6 different
leagues. Coming up from Birmingham’s active industrial leagues, in 1920 the club became a charter franchise in the Negro South League. Through its long history the club was at various times associated with the Negro Southern League, Negro National League and Negro American League.
The team’s prime time came in the 1940s when, as members of the Negro American
League, the Black Barons fielded exceptionally strong teams featuring such
stars as Piper Davis, Lester Lockett, Artie Wilson and Ed Steele. In 1943,
1944, and 1947 these strong squads captured the league title. However,
none of these pennants led to a Negro World Championship crown as the club
lost to the powerful Homestead Grays in each series.
The Black Barons formed a cornerstone of professional Negro baseball in the
American South for more than 30 years. They ended operation in 1950.
Bishop State Community College’s (BSCC) founding in 1927 is celebrated on this date.
Located in Mobile, Alabama,
BSCC is one of more than 100 Historical
and Universities in America.
Bishop State Community College
began as the Mobile Branch of Alabama State Teachers’ College of Montgomery. At
first the College offered extension course for in-service teachers, in 1936,
they established an all-year two-year college. In 1965, the College was named
In 1971, the state Legislature again changed the name to S.D. Bishop State
Junior College in honor
of its then president, Dr. S. D. Bishop. In 1989, the name of the College was
changed to Bishop
College to reflect its growth in
vocational/career, transfer offerings, and community service activities. On
August 22, 1991, the Alabama State Board of Education consolidated two technical
colleges in Mobile; Southwest
College and Carver
College with Bishop State
Community College. These
colleges now serve as campuses of Bishop
The mission of BSCC centers on the needs of students and the community. They
provide supportive services such as personal and academic counseling, tutorial
laboratories and cultural enrichment. Bishop State Community College offers the
associate of arts, associate of science and associate of applied science degrees
and certificates in career and occupational programs. Extracurricular
activities include three intercollegiate sports programs; basketball for men
and women, baseball, and softball. Additional student activities at BSCC
consist of the choir, band, and several student clubs, along with specific
activities sponsored by the Student Government Association.
John Henry Kendricks is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will
become a prolific songwriter as well as a major rhythm and blues singer better
known as Hank Ballard. He will
perform with his group, The Midnighters, and make the following songs popular: “There’s
A Thrill Upon The Hill” (Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go), “The Twist” (made
famous later by Chubby Checker), “Finger Poppin’ Time”, “Work with Me Annie”, “Sexy Ways”, and “Annie
Had a Baby”. He will be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He
will join the ancestors on March 2, 2003.
marks the birth of Don Cherry. He was an African-American musician.
From Oklahoma City, Cherry’s family moved to Los Angeles four years after his
birth. He started on trumpet in junior high school and began working with
Ornette Coleman in 1956. The Coleman quartet moved to New York City in 1959,
creating controversy and making revolutionary albums for Atlantic until it
disbanded in late 1961. Shortly thereafter, Cherry worked with a wide array of
musicians in this country and Europe: John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Steve Lacy,
George Russell and Albert Ayler.
Cherry formed the New York Contemporary 5, his own combo, New and Old Dreams, and Codona. Equally adept in the creative spheres of freer jazz forms and world music situations, Don Cherry played the cornet, pocket trumpet, keyboards, wood flutes and doussn’gouni, melodica. He and Ornette Coleman were a groundbreaking musical artist of the late ‘50s/early ‘60s with their combo. He also played and recorded with most of the major forward-looking voices in jazz.
From the late ‘60s until his death October 19, 1995, Cherry lived a nomadic
existence throughout the world, mixing jazz and world music.
Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is named
the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
Harold Warren Moon,
professional football player (Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, and Seattle
Seahawks quarterback), is born in Los Angeles, California. He will be the first
undrafted quarterback and first African American quarterback to be elected to
the Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
David Adkins, better known as “Sinbad,”
was born on this date. As a child, he was the consummate jovial jokester,
performing constantly for his three brothers and two sisters.
The head of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J.
Edgar Hoover, describes Martin Luther
King as a “most notorious liar”. This statement is indicative of the
agency head’s dislike of the civil rights leader.
Gary Sheffield was born on this date. He is an
African-American Major League Baseball player.
Gary Antonian Sheffield is the son
of Betty Jones and step dad Harold Jones. He was born in the Ponce de Leon
housing project in the Belmont Heights section of Tampa, Florida and was raised
by his mom and step dad. He did not discover until age 11 that his biological
father was someone other than Harold. That discovery about his real father was
so unsettling that he began acting out in angry ways, joining a gang (the
“Alley cats”) and earning a reputation for mischief. Many predicted jail time
in his future but Sheffield stayed out of major trouble by playing baseball.
Part of his success was under the tutoring, and intimidation of his Uncle
Dwight Gooden. Gooden was more like a big brother being only four years his
senior and helped pave the way of baseball excellence for Sheffield. His Tampa
team finished second in the 1980 Little League World Series
Sheffield was a first round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, who selected him
sixth overall in the 1986 amateur draft after a standout prep career at
Hillsborough High School in Tampa. He is a 9-time All-Star and led National
League in batting average (.330) and total bases (323) in 1992. Sheffield was a
member of the 1997 World Series Champions Florida Marlins and is the first
player to represent five different teams in the All-Star Game. Sheffield is
also known for having one of the fastest bat speeds in Major League Baseball.
As a professional, Sheffield hired a publicist from New York, who has helped
his image. At her urging, he started a charity, Sheff’s Kitchen that has given
away tickets and autographs to many underprivileged kids. Through his financial
donations, Sheffield has also revived the inner city baseball program in South
Florida; and in 1996, he began picking up new endorsements. He makes public
appearances speaking on issues that concern today’s youth, including the
importance of a continued education, positive self-esteem and the avoidance of
drugs. One of his main concerns is to enhance the education systems and
increase economic opportunities in the inner cities. “Contributing to the
community is one of the ways that I can convey my gratitude to those who have
made me who I am today.”
In the June, 2007 issue of GQ Magazine, Sheffield was quoted saying that there
are more Latin baseball players than black players because Latinos are easier
to control; a comment that was supported by Carlos Guillen. He recently
published a book ‘Inside Power’. Sheffield and his wife Deleon are raising his
three children Ebony, Carissa and Gary Jr.
The National Association of Health Services
Executives is incorporated. NAHSE’s goal is to elevate the quality of health-care
services rendered to poor and disadvantaged communities.
Katherine Dunham, “The Enchantress,” served as stage director and choreographer of the
Midwest premiere of Scott Joplin’s folk opera, Treemonisha, at Southern Illinois University. Ms. Dunham was born
in Joliet, IL and, as a little girl, organized a dance group among the children
of her neighborhood. She earned a bachelor’s degree, majoring in anthropology,
with a special emphasis on dance as a primitive social manifestation. She also
earned a master’s degree in anthropology from Northwestern University, after
studying the customs and dances of the Caribbean Islands, thanks to a Julius
Rosenthal Scholarship. In 1933, Ms. Dunham directed a Black group that appeared
at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. In 1945, Ms. Dunham directed
a Black School of Dance. Her autobiography, A
Touch of Innocence, was published in 1959.
Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets ends the NBA
free throw streak at 58 games.
Robert Edward Chambliss, a former
KKK member, is convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the 1963
bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama,
that killed four African American teenage girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carol
Robertson, Denise McNair, and Cynthia Wesley.
Spingarn Medal is presented to Ambassador
Andrew J. Young “in recognition of the deftness with which he has
handled relations between this nation and other countries” and “for his major
role in raising the consciousness of American citizens to the significance in
world affairs of the massive African continent.”
Mass Murder or was it Suicide? 913 persons, 276 of them children and most
of them Black Americans, died in mass murder and suicide pact in Jonestown, Guyana. In the murder/suicide, after a cult, the People’s Temple of San Francisco’s African American community, moved to Guyana, in
what the founder of the cult, James Warren “Jim” Jones, attempted to create an agricultural utopia and the cult began to be
investigated for tax evasion, following the killing in Guyana of a U.S.
Congressman, Leo Ryan, and five others, there to investigate the cult, the followers
of the cult, were ordered to commit “revolutionary suicide” by drinking
cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid (not Kool Aid).
the mass suicide, Ryan and the others were killed in an airfield. Ryan had just
landed in Guyana to investigate alleged human rights abuses at Jonestown.
Jonestown was a commune of the People’s Temple Sect in northwest of Georgetown,
Guyana that was established in 1974.
murder/suicide, children died first. Babies were killed by poison being squirted
into their mouths with a syringe, then the adults were poisoned with the laced
drink, some forcibly. Those who that did not drink the laced drink
were forcibly injected with the cyanide while security
guards shot others. Jones was
found with a bullet wound in his head, whether his death was suicide or murder
is unknown. When the bodies came home, many could not be identified. Several
cemeteries refused to take them until the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland stepped
forward in 1979 and accepted 409 bodies. The remaining victims had been
cremated or buried in family cemeteries.
In an investigation of the murder/suicide, the leader Jim Jones was
initially found dead sitting in a deck chair with a gun shot wound to the head.
Whether his death was suicide or murder is unknown. When the
bodies came home, many could not be identified. Several cemeteries refused to
take them until the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland stepped forward in 1979 and
accepted 409 bodies. The remaining victims had been cremated or buried in
Wally “Famous” Amos’ signature Panama hat and embroidered
shirt are donated to the National Museum
of American History’s Business Americana collection. It is the
first memorabilia added to the collection by an African American entrepreneur
and recognizes the achievement of Amos, who built his company from a
mom-and-pop enterprise to a $250 million cookie manufacturing business.
Filmmaker, Spike Lee’s motion picture, Malcolm X, a film about the life of Malcolm X, opened to a nationwide audience on
“Sweet Honey in the Rock,” a capella
singers, perform their 10th anniversary reunion concert in
white leaders in South
Africa approved the new democracy constitution
that gave blacks the vote and ended white minority rule.
Bandleader Cab Calloway joins the ancestors in Hockessin,
Delaware, at age 86.